Mana (‘Maori’ New Zealand indigenous people) A supernatural force believed to dwell in a person or sacred object. Integrity, charisma, prestige.

Lion – You know what a lion is.

If video was responsible for killing the radio star, then music streaming services have certainly played their part in doing the same for record sales. The streaming revolution has undoubtedly had a severe impact on today’s aspiring bands, as record executives stopped searching for the next big act to uncover. Fortunately though, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom as some positives can be taken out of the transition of music media to the digital age.

Take for example the discovery of Manalion. One of the major benefits available on the platform of Spotify is the music radio feature. By finding an artist you like and clicking play radio, you are sent down the rabbit hole of new music as it randomly selects similar artists you may never otherwise discover, which is exactly how this writer was introduced to Manalion.

Manalion may just be the greatest band that you are about to discover this year. Forming in 2012 on the northern beaches of Sydney, this three piece act may have started writing music together in Sydney, but their roots are deeply entrenched in the land of the long white cloud. Between growing up on the same streets as members from Kora, attending the same school as Fat Freddys Drop’s Trombonist Joe or house sharing with Diggs from Shapeshifter, it’s fairly apparent that there is some Kiwi magic running strong through the veins of the three members that make up Manalion. To make the case even stronger, their recordings have been produced by none other than Kiwi royalty Tiki Taane and they are about to play a series of dates in Hawaii supporting their bro’s from Katchafire. Needless to say, if any of these artists appeal to you, you’re going to love the sounds these lads dish up.

Listening to Manalion, the influences come thick and fast. The New Zealand vibes shine through with the upbeat rhythms akin to some of Fat Freddys or Black Seeds finest work, but to liken them to those bands is a total injustice as they truly have a sound that is their own. The deeper you dig, it becomes apparent that there is some serious eclectic inspirations coming through. Manalions percussionist drummer Mondo, confirms this by rattling off names like James Brown, Billy Idol, Snoop Dog, Soundgarden and Metallica to name a few.

Explaining their early beginnings is a tale of fate and good timing. Mondo was originally living in Manly and drumming with Clint Boges other band, ‘Thousand Needles In Red’. He was told by his little bro that he had to check out a guitarist singer playing cafes around Manly, named Duan. Hitting it off instantly, the conversation naturally veered towards jamming together, but it wasn’t to be at that point of time. Fast forward twelve months, Needles had since disbanded and Mondo bumps into Duan again. The conversation once again leans towards jamming. Duan hands a demo tape over to Mondo who is instantly hooked which is then forwarded to his bass playing friend Duncan, who an hour later is also in. After only three rehearsals together, the band played their debut gig to 300 people at Manlys main watering hole receiving an amazing response. The venue was more than happy to get them back in and after 4 more gigs in quick succession they won a battle of the bands to play at a major festival in Perth playing just their sixth gig to over 9000 people.

The band has continued to grow from strength to strength since then, going on to support artists such as Julian Marley, Fat Freddys Drop, Slightly Stoopid and have just completed a national tour in support of Sublime with Rome. With new hit single ‘Hanvey Hotlap’ receiving glowing reviews and some more new tunes to be released in the coming months, the band are riding a wave of momentum as they prepare for their first ever foray up to Cairns. They will be playing a double header performing a free gig at The Jack before heading up to play Wallaby Creek Festival the following evening.

This is a band that all signs are pointing towards big things in the very near future, so here’s your chance to see them in some smaller intimate venues be it a free gig at the pub or up on the lush tropical venue that is Home Rule.

Manalion plays The Jack Thursday 28th September and Wallaby Creek Festival on Friday 29th September. Band and event details below. Get on it!

Andy Parkinson

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